by Mark Coggins
We’ve had a bunch of stories lately concerning people being arrested for filming or photographing the police while they’re doing their job in public. This is pretty ridiculous, and thankfully courts have started to make it clear that this is a First Amendment violation. Of course, we also just had the story of the city of Boston having to pay $170,000 to one of the people it arrested for filming them. And yet, the message still hasn’t reached the police, who seem to keep on arresting people for pointing a camera in their general direction.
JJ sent over a ridiculous story from Philadelphia where a Temple student was arrested for photographing the police, which he actually did as part of his photojournalism class, where he had a “night-photography” assignment. When he saw the police pull someone over near where he lived, he went over with his camera and started taking pictures. What happened next seems positively ridiculous:
What happened next surely seems like a abrogation of Constitutional rights and the photographer may win in the end. But, to do that he has to spend large amounts of time and money to defend himself from a felony charge.
The cops don’t care if they violate the Constitution because it will only be the city that pays eventually, years later. In the meantime, they can continue to bully citizens.
Because seldom is anything ever done to punish the police for violating Constitutional rights.